pri·or·i·ty | \ prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē , -ˈär- \
plural priorities

Definition of priority 

1a(1) : the quality or state of being prior

(2) : precedence in date or position of publication used of taxa

b(1) : superiority in rank, position, or privilege

(2) : legal precedence in exercise of rights over the same subject matter

2 : a preferential rating especially : one that allocates rights to goods and services usually in limited supply that project has top priority

3 : something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives

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Synonyms for priority


precedence, right-of-way

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Examples of priority in a Sentence

Reorganizing the sales force will be a top priority for the new president. Getting the work done on time is a priority for me. She decided to go to the party instead of studying? Where are her priorities? I know you want to buy a new stereo, but right now, saving for college has to take priority.
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Recent Examples on the Web

And not everyone places the same priority on city spending for arenas and other potential economic development drivers. Allison Ross, The Courier-Journal, "The KFC Yum Center was built to spur a downtown boom. Did it work?," 12 July 2018 For as committed as Derrick has been to the Heat culture, the developmental priorities appear to be Derrick Jones Jr., Duncan Robinson and Bam Adebayo. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Will détente work for Spoelstra and Whiteside?," 12 July 2018 If a bad shooter is taking a bad shot, doing the dirty work of hitting the closest opponent for rebound position is the priority. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Jaren Jackson Jr. sits in middle of Grizzlies' efforts to rebuild grit-and-grind identity," 11 July 2018 Even with these early successes, the scimitar-horned oryx’s conservation status remains the priority of zoologists around the world, and scientists will continue to breed calves in captivity for the purposes of reintroduction. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "New Artificial Insemination Technique Successfully Breeds Critically Endangered Scimitar-Horned Oryx," 10 July 2018 The new fund fits into the recent priorities of Wellcome Trust Director Jeremy Farrar, Wilsdon says. Kai Kupferschmidt, Science | AAAS, "Biomedical charity places major bet on ‘bold’ research to win bigger payoffs," 10 July 2018 Meanwhile, Roys on Monday held a press conference in Green Bay to release the three priorities of her campaign agenda, which include education, health care and economic development. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "AG Brad Schimel: Democratic candidates' plans to cut prison population are 'deceiving the public'," 9 July 2018 The priorities of Borrego’s predecessor, Steve Clifford, no longer matter. Rick Bonnell, charlotteobserver, "A Charlotte Hornets positional analysis: Kemba Walker but then ...," 8 July 2018 As for the need to impart wholesome values, youngsters should not be the priority. The Economist, "If national service is so good, everyone should do it," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'priority.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of priority

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

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Statistics for priority

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for priority

The first known use of priority was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for priority



English Language Learners Definition of priority

: something that is more important than other things and that needs to be done or dealt with first

priorities : the things that someone cares about and thinks are important

: the condition of being more important than something or someone else and therefore coming or being dealt with first


pri·or·i·ty | \ prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē \
plural priorities

Kids Definition of priority

: a condition of being more important than other things


pri·or·i·ty | \ prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē \
plural priorities

Legal Definition of priority 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: precedence in exercise of rights in the same subject matter secured interests have priority over unsecured ones



Legal Definition of priority (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : having precedence over another in the exercise of rights in the same subject matter a priority creditor a priority claim

2 : of or relating to priority a priority contest

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Comments on priority

What made you want to look up priority? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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